Group Ride Saturday

In a nice schedule quirk, I'm typing in a relaxed state in the middle of the day, hours after a smooth, 40-mile ride with the Valley Coach team. We wound our way from Calabasas to near Thousand Oaks and back.

I took along my cycling buddy, Frank, who managed to immediately distance himself from the group and launch ahead of the pack. Unfortunately for him, we had two flat tires in the group and Frank found himself alone with several other pelatons riding the same route. This was after Frank was almost ran over by another cyclist from a different club who wasn't paying attention. Note to other cyclists on the road: When you're in a pelaton, how 'bout looking straight ahead on the road and not talking to your friend behind you? Thanks! I was clipped by the offender's handlebar, but fortunately had enough momentum to maintain course on the road and not bump into someone else. Close call though.
The goal of today's ride was to maintain zone 2 heart-rate and not delve into 3-5. I almost complied 100%, but there were a couple times where someone in the group opened up the throttle and I was just a little too curious to see where I stood. Fortunately, for the most part, I'm hanging in there with the fast group just fine. Of course, it's hard to tell since it's not a speed or power workout, but the end result is that I feel good enough to continue working out today if need-be. Since I don't have to though, it's an afternoon of hoops and Modern Warfare 2 co-op with my buddy, TJ.
Today's workout highlight was meeting a new cycling friend, Vinnie (pictured, red shirt/gray vest to my right). He's a fitness coach, which was apparent by his hulking frame. This dude was jacked, and a badass. In fact, he had heart surgery LAST WEEK to fix a "minor" problem. That's some John Wayne stuff right there. After the ride, Vinnie went running! Can you believe that?! I still can't.
Vinnie led the ride today and was very good at making sure everyone had the proper gear and that our bikes were pre-checked before leaving. I caught up with "America's Trainer" (that's his moniker on one of his websites) for the latter part of the ride, where we chatted for at least 20 minutes about fitness, triathlons, how the heart works, nutrition, and how best to brand his many business interests. Though the coolest subject for me was the fact that Vinnie served as Cooper and Peyton Manning's fitness coach at Newman Friends Prep School in New Orleans. Yeah, that Peyton Manning. Vinnie noted that he was surprised that Peyton has taken off the way he has considering he was rather small and unfocused up until the end of middle school heading into high school. Cooper showed more promise, but a bone marrow condition ultimately ended the eldest Manning's career. I'll be looking forward to more conversations with Vinnie in the future, and now we're Facebook buddies.
TJ just got here, so it's time to geek out for a while!
339 days and counting!